Asia started its energy transition later, but is catching up fast
Asia is home to 79% of the world’s coal generation. Fortunately, the era of building new coal power plants is drawing to a close, and clean electricity investment now significantly outweighs fossil electricity investment in almost all countries and areas/economies in the region. Asia started its energy transition later, but is catching up fast. Solar and wind in Asia are now almost at the world average. Three of the world’s top five absolute generators of wind and solar are in Asia, and wind and solar are increasingly growing as part of Asian country’s electricity mix China is above the global average for wind and solar at 14% (1,241 TWh); Japan and India are just under the global average at 11% (107 TWh) and 9% (165 TWh) respectively.
Whilst long-term energy transition targets exist in most Asian economies, many countries lack immediate plans towards implementing clean electricity transition by 2040. There are plans in most countries for new investment into fossil gas to make electricity, which has caused concerns, but recent volatility in the global gas market may see these plans rethought.
Asia is also experiencing faster electricity demand growth than any other region, about 5% per year. Over half of the electricity demand rise in Asia (52%) was met with clean electricity in the seven years from 2015 to 2022, double the 26% achieved in the seven years before that. This is significant since 84% of the global electricity demand rise from 2015 to 2022 happened in Asia.
Rising electricity demand makes it difficult for fast-growing Asian economies to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. What happens in Asia will without a doubt determine whether the world can limit global heating to 1.5C.
Last updated: May 2023